When you're young, finding your passion might seem like a long, daunting journey. Some people know what they want to do and be when they're very little, while others play around with dozens of ideas until middle-age. Author Tom Ayling has come up with a solution. He is the #1 bestselling author of How to Find Your Passion: 10 Steps to Living a Purpose Driven Life, and the founder of Self Publishing System, a program designed to help independent writers get their groove.
I think his advice on self-publishing will be very helpful to anyone thinking about diving in headfirst to the world of writing - by extension, his book will be invaluable for those looking to focus on their dreams and make them a reality.
Q & A with Tom Ayling
Hi Tom! First, I want to talk about writing. Why do you love to write?
Hi Summer, first and foremost, thanks for having me on [Writing Belle].
There’re a few major reasons as to why I love writing. I love expressing myself. I love building from scratch. I love storytelling.
I remember coming back home, after parties, with my friends, and telling stories. We would stay up all night, just storytelling.
Writing has all three components. I found my love for writing late, but found it had changed my life.
This brings up my next question: You're the #1 Bestselling Author of How to Find Your Passion: 10 Steps to Living a Purpose Driven Life. That's quite a topic. How did you get started on this book?
I remember when this journey started about 3 years ago. I was a sophomore in college, experiencing all the freedom and adventure that college holds. I was having a ball!
This fun didn’t stop either. I was moving at 100 mph.
I was approaching the middle of my junior year, and it was like I slipped on a patch of ice and fell right on my head, while walking through the frigid Penn State campus. Where was I heading? No, like really, where am I heading in life? I had no direction, no purpose, nor fire in the belly.
Not only couldn’t I read the road signs, I didn’t even know where they were on this journey! Months passed and my anxiety was much like a roller coaster, reaching high points and other times complete stagnation.
I was still having fun, but the more and more time that passed, the more my weeks were patched with a sense of being completely lost.
It wasn’t until I met my first mentor, Ryan Newman, he had what I needed.
When we talked, I felt his fire. Ryan was electrifying, his passion was contagious.
Never in my life did I ever feel that alive. I felt like I was asking my biggest crush to prom when I asked him to be my mentor.
The list of individuals he mentored was just so impressive. I didn’t even feel that I was close to being worthy enough.
A few months later, being immersed in his mentorship, he recommended I find a mentor that was more aligned with where we “felt” I might want to be, which was being an entrepreneur. He gave me a bunch of tips on ways to talk with elite businessmen and I journeyed on.
A couple months after that I found a very successful entrepreneur, Stephen Di Biase, who mentors a handful of CEO’s. Stephen was so impressed with the tips Ryan gave me that he decided to give it a shot.
Five months later, with weekly phone calls with Stephen, I was there.
I had done a Complete 180!
Instead of wandering aimlessly, I was aiming at a vision, leading with passion, and knew I had a purpose.
During those months, I studied successful individuals, from interviews with the President of PSU, to a leading innovator in Philadelphia.
I read books upon books, and yet, still had time for parties like I did before! I felt like I had the key to life.
Until I came across my most recent finding.
It took me 3 years to realize that all this knowledge was NOTHING if I didn’t share it.
It would poison me if I knew how lost I felt, and I found a way out of it, but didn’t share it.
That is when I went to work—spending me entire savings, not worrying about loans, and just sitting in front of my computer sharing all of the talks I had with these individuals and connecting the dots.
I came away with 10 patterns they all had that lead them to having PASSION and true PURPOSE in life. I named this work: How to Find Your Passion: 10 Simple Steps to Living a Purpose Driven Life.
Self-published. Which lead me to spending an enormous amount of time studying the art of self-publishing.
If you could offer one piece of advice to finding your passion, what would it be?
Action. It’s the only way to find your passion. You can’t obtain passion by thinking. You must act. The more you act, the more you find what sets your heart on fire. Act with a heart that’s on fire and you’ll eventually combust, setting the world on fire.
Okay, let's talk about your course, the Self Publishing System. What is it?
The world is changing. Traditional publishing is almost dead. They know it, but they won’t admit it. I can understand why they won’t acknowledge it. Clayton Christensen, Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, speaks about this, voluminously, with his bestselling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma.
These traditional publishing companies did everything RIGHT, yet still will lose marketing leadership. The best inevitably fail because they miss the new waves of innovation. What made these companies successful in the late 90s and early 2000’s will be the same reason why they fail to self-publish today.
What was the biggest factor of this shift?
The consumers. Nowadays, people aren’t waiting on the sidelines to be picked. They’re not waiting for record deals, they’re shooting Youtube videos and receiving millions of views. Rebecca Black is a prime example of this. She Received 15,000,000 listeners with no record label.
We built Self Publishing System with this in mind. It’s happening everywhere. Especially in publishing.
A few benefits of self-publishing versus traditional publishing:
A) Speed. You speed up your publication process. S.J. Scott puts out a book every 2 months. He’s making $40,000.00 a month from sales of these books.
B) Creative Freedom. Traditional publishing companies take your work and make it theirs.
C) Dream Team. Self-publishing allows you to create your book with individuals who you work with best. Traditional publishing companies only offer a selective bunch. The fault in this is, this bunch may not work well with your style.
D) More Money. Self-publishing crushes traditional publishing when it comes to cash.
To answer your question Summer, Selfpublishingsystem.com is an online course where you learn how to move through the new age of publishing, making it elementary, as ever, to write a book, publish it, and profit from it.
This system is made up of 5 core modules, (author’s mindset, writing, editing, sales and marketing), that show you a step-by-step process on crafting a book. We provide precise details on writing, editing, sales, and marketing, even down to the most profitable dates to publish and promote.
By far, the best part of Self Publishing System is the community we’ve built and continue to build. Everyone that joins instantly is connected with everyone that has joined. This is the main reason that we have bestsellers coming into our program, left and right. Community is everything in the book-writing process.
What's the goal of the Self Publishing System?
Our intent at Self Publishing System is to inspire over 10,000 individuals, in the next 10 years, to find their voice, share their message, and deliver value.
We’re very passionate about inspiring writers to become authors.
What do you find is the most effective way to follow through with your writing goals?
There’re two main factors: habitat and habit. In other words, where you write and when you write.
Your environment is everything. For example, even the most talkative person is quiet in a library. Right?
Habitat. You must set up a creative writing space. For me, this space is open, with lots of windows and a vibe of freedom. I come to this space to write, plan, and create. It is my favorite space. I love creating, and I make sure I visit this space, at least once, each day.
Habit. Our brains are at their optimal effectiveness, 2-4 hours, after waking. Therefore, two hours after awaking, I write. The more consistent I am with this, the better my work.
Who are some of your favorite authors/writers?
My favorite writers are: Malcolm Gladwell, James Altucher, Khaled Hosseini, Michael Brown, Oscar Wilde, and Seth Godin.
Thank you so much for joining us, Tom. Where can readers connect with you?
Well, if you’d like to join the community at Self Publishing System and write a book in 2015, visit, http://selfpublishingsystem.com/free-video-series/
If you’d like to follow my work, you can find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tommy.ayling1
Thank YOU Summer! I appreciate your questions and time.